13 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Four decades later and Cheap Trick mostly indulge their pop instincts. Besides, what was once hard rock is now power pop anyhow. Rick Nielsen’s tough, distorted guitars that defined hard rock in the ‘70s have become the standard for delivering pop songs in the new century and he takes charge here with his usual authority. A cover of Slade’s “When the Lights Are Out” gives a nod to the band’s influences and their original era of prominence without falling victim to nostalgia. “Miss Tomorrow” follows with a decided psychedelic touch to the production, as the vocals flip in and out and the band pauses with ornate, staggered, trippy effects. The band’s hard rock powers through in limited supply; “Sick Man of Europe” and “California Girl” up the tempo and wattage, but mostly these veterans are content with exploring harmonies and melodies at a quieter, more leisurely pace (“These Days,” “Miracle”) with Robin Zander’s pretty vocals preening in the spotlight where they belong.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Four decades later and Cheap Trick mostly indulge their pop instincts. Besides, what was once hard rock is now power pop anyhow. Rick Nielsen’s tough, distorted guitars that defined hard rock in the ‘70s have become the standard for delivering pop songs in the new century and he takes charge here with his usual authority. A cover of Slade’s “When the Lights Are Out” gives a nod to the band’s influences and their original era of prominence without falling victim to nostalgia. “Miss Tomorrow” follows with a decided psychedelic touch to the production, as the vocals flip in and out and the band pauses with ornate, staggered, trippy effects. The band’s hard rock powers through in limited supply; “Sick Man of Europe” and “California Girl” up the tempo and wattage, but mostly these veterans are content with exploring harmonies and melodies at a quieter, more leisurely pace (“These Days,” “Miracle”) with Robin Zander’s pretty vocals preening in the spotlight where they belong.

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